West Fargo Police Chief: Overdoses, drug abuse major concern in city

Photo by: WDAY Radio Staff
Photo by: WDAY Radio Staff

(West Fargo, ND) -- It's no secret that drugs and overdoses have been on the rise in the area, but concern appears to be at an all-time high according to one local police chief.

West Fargo Police Chief Denis Otterness sat down with The Flag's What's on Your Mind program to discuss concerns in the city, and the mental health aspect of drugs and overdoses is playing a major factor.

"Unfortunately we're seeing a lot of calls for mental health, and that includes the younger population," said Ottterness. "That goes for every community, the mental health then leading to many people trying to self-medicate. That's where you see the drug usage, which also leads to other things like property crimes and crimes against persons too."

The big concern that has come with the increased number of drugs to the region is who is getting a hold of them, now including minors and children.

"What we're starting to see now is that it's trickling down to our younger folks too," said the Chief. "It really runs the gambit from a lot of depression, a lot of substance abuse taking place with kids at a younger age."

Chief Otterness says his department, which deploys 10 school resource officers across the West Fargo Public School District, is continuing to work with area youths to deter drug use in general, but especially Fentanyl, which is being disguised as other 'less deadly' drugs that are cheaper to buy.

Original Air Date: 
Thursday, February 16, 2023